Female Trouble by Antonya Nelson
Stories

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Synopsis

"Nelson's prose is precise and energetic, and her insights delight because they manage to be at once surprising and so right as to seem inevitable." -- "The New York Times Book Review" Antonya Nelson is widely regarded as one of America's most talented women writers -- "The New Yorker" has named her one of the twenty best writers of her generation -- and with "Female Trouble" she returns to the short-story form with which she made her original literary mark. Thirteen wise, funny, and startlingly perceptive stories about the vagaries of marriage, the uncertainties of family, and the revelations of female life, "Female Trouble" looks at the relationships not just between men and women but also between parents and children, brothers and sisters. Probing the subjects of love, fidelity, desire, dependence, and solitude, Nelson explores the broad notion of family from myriad angles, but always with surprising insight and her trademark offbeat humor. The title story features a thirty-year-old man carrying on intimate relationships with three different women -- one institutionalized, one pregnant, one purely maternal -- but unable to commit to any of them. "Incognito" depicts a divorced woman whose turbulent teen years are suddenly brought back to her when she returns to her hometown with her own teenage daughter. In "The Unified Front," a husband reckons with his wife's decision to steal a baby while at a famous theme park, and in "Stitches," a disturbing late-night phone call forces a mother to confront her college-age daughter's sexuality and her own adulterous past. Set in the vividly rendered Southwest and Midwest, these moving stories are dark and honestportraits of people in moral quandaries, gray areas, unclear circumstances -- stories that reveal us to ourselves with disturbing clarity. As always, Nelson astounds with the clean, terse power of her language, and she deftly uses humor to expose the soft underbellies of her tough-talking, unblinking characters. These are stories that will linger in the reader's mind long after they are read.
 

About Antonya Nelson

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Antonya Nelson is the author of three novels and three previous short-story collections. She has been awarded the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Award, the Flannery O'Connor Award, the PEN Nelson Algren Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a Guggenheim. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and Esquire, as well as in The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories anthologies. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with her husband, the writer Robert Boswell, and their two children.
 
Published April 2, 2002 by Scribner. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Female Trouble

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A heavily lauded novelist and short-story writer (Family Terrorists, 1994, etc.) proves she's got staying power with an impressive fourth collection.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Female Trouble: Stories

Publishers Weekly

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Uneven but deeply affecting, Nelson's fourth story collection (she's also written three novels) maps the dimensions of the human—usually female—heart, both in love and in grie

Mar 04 2002 | Read Full Review of Female Trouble: Stories

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